AR and PDM reject land conference

28 Sep 2018 08:20am
WINDHOEK, 28 SEP (NAMPA) – The Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement and the official opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) announced that they will not partake in the second National Land Conference as doing so “would give credence to an illegitimate gathering”.
The announcements were made at separate media conferences on Thursday.
The five-day land indaba is slated for next week.
AR leader and land activist Job Amupanda said experience has taught them not to trust Government and its promises.
According to AR, their 11th hour invite to the conference is an afterthought and legitimacy-seeking by the government to a choreographed and predetermined gimmick.
“The [conference] is an attempt by the regime to gain moral high ground and policy legitimacy through manipulative tactics, while doing nothing about the suffering of our people,” said Amupanda.
He said their invite to the conference on 18 September 2018, which came after public criticism meant two things: “To contain public anger and project the conference as inclusive by inviting us while designing mechanism to contain and limit us.”
Amupanda added: “The other purpose was in case we don’t attend, given the logistical difficulty placed on us by the regime such as giving us (20) hours to confirm attendance and delegates, the regime will be seen as having been considerate and it was our own choice to make.”
Other reasons provided by AR for its withdrawal include its prediction that several resolutions will not emanate from the conference.
“There will be no resolutions on rent control, housing for the poor, ancestral land claims for restitution and the 2.5 million hectares of land currently in the hands for foreigners will remain intact,” said Amupanda.
On its part, PDM had six reasons for not attending the convention, one being that the list of resettlement beneficiaries is yet to be released, which it said undermines the ethos of transparency and accountability.
PDM leader McHenry Venaani further said the party cannot give credibility to an “already-decided” conference.
They based this on a leaked document titled ‘Advisory Position Paper to Government in Preparation for the second National Land Conference September 2018’.
“The Popular Democratic Movement shall not be party to a conference of whose outcome is predetermined and now we must be used to legitimise outcomes that are predetermined,” Venaani said.
PDM and AR join the likes of the Landless People’s Movement, Ovaherero Traditional Authority, Nama Traditional Leaders Association, Swanu, Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, Nama Genocide Technical Committee and other civil society movements in abandoning the conference.